There is an old joke about a church that invited a visiting pastor to speak. The church secretary called him to ask the title of his sermon, and he very pompously announced that he would be speaking about “Justification by Faith, and Not of Works.” He was astonished to find, when he arrived to preach, that his pronouncement had been misinterpreted. The sign outside read, “Come this Sunday– Just a Vacation by Faith, and No Work!”
Christians often give the impression, and sometimes operate under the false belief, that we are on vacation– permanently; that our lives are, or should be, ones of carefree enjoyment and counting our blessings. We say things like “Let, go, and Let God!”; “This world is not my home!”, and “Won’t God Do It!” We wait for God or someone else to “fix” the problems around us, saying that “I’m praying about it.” It’s not wrong to say any of these things in context– we SHOULD let go of our needless worry and our constant running after the things of this world. We should remember that our citizenship is in Heaven. We should remember that it is God working all things together for good, and that “He who began a good work (in us) will be faithful to complete it.” And prayer should always be the first step we take. But that doesn’t excuse us from action. The Bible never paints a picture of saints on vacation. We have a race to run, seeds to plant, and battles to fight. We are not tourists in our neighborhoods and communities. We have a job to do. God gave us hands, and feet, and voices, and brains. He intends that we use them for his service.
We must remember this in our prayer life, as well. We need to “carry everything to God in Prayer,” the little things, the tough things, the awkward things. We must speak words of truth and encouragement, and challenge, to ourselves as well as others. We must not grow weary of doing good. God has promised an abundant life, with an easy yoke and rest for our souls. He promises to strengthen and encourage us in the work we do. Best of all, he promises that we will be “Justified” by our faith in HIS finished work. Our work will not be in vain, and our faith will be rewarded– not with a splendid vacation, but with eternal life with our Creator. Now that’s a trip worth working for!